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Phoenix Air Guard Base expands disaster relief capabilities

Airmen from 161st Services Squadron, Arizona Air National Guard, serve their first meal cooked in the DRMKT to Arizona Guard leadership, Aug 3, 2021, Goldwater Air National Guard Base, Arizona.  The distinguished guests were first given a brief on the DRMKT capabilities, followed by a quick tour of the trailer in its operational configuration.(U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Anthony Reynolds)

Airmen from 161st Services Squadron, Arizona Air National Guard, serve their first meal cooked in the DRMKT to Arizona Guard leadership, Aug 3, 2021, Goldwater Air National Guard Base, Arizona. The distinguished guests were first given a brief on the DRMKT capabilities, followed by a quick tour of the trailer in its operational configuration.(U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Anthony Reynolds)

PHOENIX -- The 161st Air Refueling Wing’s Force Support Squadron received a new Disaster Relief Mobile Kitchen Trailer (DRMKT) Aug. 2, expanding the unit’s capability to mobilize during disaster relief missions.

Once the DRMKT is filled with 50 gallons of water for cooking and cleaning, it is considered completely self sufficient, using a built in generator and is solar compatible. It is also rated to serve 1,100 meals per meal period utilizing Unitized Group Rations.

“This food services trailer expands our nutritional capabilities when facilities are down or not accessible,” said Capt. Ariana Ocampo, sustainment services flight commander, with the 161st FSS.

The manufacturers of the unit, Babington Technology, came to Phoenix for three days to train the 161st Sustainment Services Flight airmen on unpacking and use of the trailer.

After completing the DRMKT manufacturer training, the mobile kitchen was put to the test, when it was used operationally to feed Arizona National Guard State leadership, demonstrating the capabilities of the trailer and 161st FSS personnel.

“We only need 2-3 airmen to operate this kitchen,” Ocampo said, “but 6 personnel would be ideal to feed a larger group”

A typical food truck operates on propane. However, the DMRKT runs off diesel fuel, allowing it to be transported by aircraft or towed by the provided Ford F-650.

Since the DRMKT was developed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, these units have supported disaster relief events such as hurricanes, wildfires and in other domestic operations such as Presidential Inaugurations.

“The ability for our unit to activate and mobilize, especially for domestic operations, is critical,” said Col Denise Sweeney, commander, 161st Mission Support Group. “This mobile kitchen will allow us to provide a next-level support to service members and communities when we weren’t able to before.”

With over 800 Airmen assigned to the 161st, the Arizona National Guard, has previously activated to support presidential inaugurations, wildfire and post-fire flooding, COVID relief efforts, and the southwest border mission.

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